During a meeting Monday with his Kremlin counterpart in Moscow, France’s defense minister was expected to ask the Russian military to conduct more airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian wants enhanced collaboration on the Syrian war, despite the split between the U.S.-led coalition and Russia over the fate of Syria’s dictator Bashar Assad.
The French, however, have embraced cooperation with Russia since the bloody attacks on Paris, claimed by ISIS, on Nov. 13, according to a report Monday by Russia Today.
"We will discuss what we consider to be terrorist groups, and how Russia might increase its action against Daesh [ISIS], which is our sole enemy," Le Drian told Agence France-Presse.
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Le Drian is expected to propose that Moscow enter into an intelligence-sharing network where both sides will exchange information on French and Russian citizens who have joined ISIS, which could help in targeting future airstrikes.
The minister stressed that France is ready to act responsibly, as “intelligence-sharing requires giving on both sides.”
Le Drian will also likely speak with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu about arrangements to avoid incidents between military jets in an area that has become saturated with air traffic. Along with U.S. aircraft, France, Russia, the U.K. and Germany have committed some level of air assets to the mission.
France deployed its aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, equipped with 26 bombers, to the Syrian coast last month. Russia temporarily allowed its guided missile destroyer the Moskva as the aircraft carrier’s defense.
In late November, the Turkish military shot down a Russian jet which it said entered its airspace. Russia denied the claim and said its aircraft was attacked 1 kilometer inside Syrian borders in the northwest of the country.